14 March 2010

British Library project

As mentioned in the previous post, this project has moved on from being one primarily concerned with comparisons between the noise in different libraries and has become one about documenting how it occurs within a specific space. As yesterday's visit might suggest, I've opted for the British Library.

The British Library is iconic given the fact that it is required by law to carry a copy of every book that is produced in the United Kingdom. And, while its architecture divides opinion, I felt it was an interesting environment.

What especially interests me is the balance between this very weighty tradition and the more abstract aspects of the building. Located somewhere between these two elements is this thing called noise. As discussed in last week's group tutorial, I want to [half-jokingly and half-seriously] create something that reflects how the sounds of the British Library have a quality that carries the essence of all this information and intellectual endeavour. I mean, the amount of people who go to study there suggest that the environment has more than wi-fi when it comes to that ability to inspire. So in terms of deliverables, this has become about the ability to commodify this essence: maybe in the way that, say, "Holy Water" is bottled at Lourdes.

So now I'm developing the idea of selling the sounds of the British Library as a package. Something that can be perceived as a potent study aid or an 'environment enhancer' that may suddenly turn your Jackie Collins paperbacks into weighty tomes. Perhaps while instantly increasing your IQ. But then also something that is more of a curio: a novelty gift if we have our tongue firmly in our cheeks.

Above is a quick interpretation of how it could be packaged using one of the photos I took yesterday. It also uses the design layouts that are used in existing British Library material. The plan is to produce it alongside some kind of print product that will explain more about the environment, the British Library's work and the sounds that were recorded.

Interestingly, they already sell CDs of birdsong and rainforest sounds in the British Library's gift shop.

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